CCTL Transnational Economic Law and Dispute Settlement Group Book Discussion – ‘The Hunt for Unicorns: How Sovereign Funds Are Reshaping Investment in the Digital Economy’ by Mr. Winston Ma (Online)

CCTL Transnational Economic Law and Dispute Settlement Group Book Discussion – ‘The Hunt for Unicorns: How Sovereign Funds Are Reshaping Investment in the Digital Economy’ by Mr. Winston Ma (Online)

In his new book Mr Winston Ma explores the role of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and sheds light on their operations and governance, focusing on their investments in the digital economy. SWFs’ investments in the high-tech sector and their participation in the fourth industrial revolution exacerbates global tensions in the AI race and tech competition that are aggravated by the current COVID19 pandemic.

This Book Discussion brings together scholars of international economic law to discuss misperceptions and controversies around SWFs and capital markets, governments, new technologies, cross-border investments, and legal and regulatory transformation.

About the Speakers:

Book author:
Mr. Winston Ma is an investor, attorney, author, and adjunct professor in the global digital economy. He is one of a small number of native Chinese who have worked as investment professionals and practicing capital markets attorneys in both the United States and China. Most recently, he was Managing Director and Head of North America Office for China Investment Corporation (CIC), China’s sovereign wealth fund, for 10 years. Prior to that, Mr. Ma served as the deputy head of equity capital markets at Barclays Capital, a vice president at J.P. Morgan investment banking, and a corporate lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. A nationally certified Software Programmer as early as 1994, Mr. Ma is the book author of China’s Mobile Economy (Wiley 2016, among “best 2016 business books for CIOs”), Digital Economy 2.0 (2017 Chinese), The Digital Silk Road (2018 German), China’s AI Big Bang (2019 Japanese), and Investing in China (Risk Books, 2006). His new books in 2020 are “The Hunt for Unicorns: How Sovereign Funds Are Reshaping Investment in the Digital Economy” (Wiley October 2020) and “The Digital War – How China’s Tech Power Shapes the Future of AI, Blockchain, and Cyberspace” (Wiley December 2020). He was selected a 2013 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and has been a member of the Council for Long-Term Investing and Council for Digital Economy and Society. He is a member of New York University (NYU) President’s Global Council since inception, and in 2014 he received the NYU Distinguished Alumni Award.

Prof. Bryan Mercurio is the Simon F.S. Li Professor of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), having served as Associate Dean (Research) from 2010-14 and again from 2017-19. Professor Mercurio specialises in international economic law (IEL), with particular expertise in the intersection between trade law and intellectual property rights, free trade agreements, trade in services, dispute settlement and increasingly international investment law. Professor Mercurio is co-author of one of the most widely used textbooks on WTO law (Hart Publishing, 2018, 3rd ed) and co-editor of the leading collection on bilateral and regional trade agreements (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2016). His most recent monograph explores the international and domestic framework for pharmaceutical patent law and policy (Cambridge University Press, 2018). His next monograph focuses on the legality of capital controls under the various strands of IEL (Cambridge University Press, 2021/22). Professor Mercurio currently holds three competitive grants, namely a grant from the Hong Kong General Research Fund entitled ‘When Regimes Clash on Capital Controls: Managing the Conflicting Norms and Standards of the IMF, WTO and International Investment Agreements’, a grant from the Hong Kong Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office Public Policy Research Funding Scheme entitled, ‘Regulating Cross-Border Data: A Public Policy Framework for Hong Kong’ and a grant from the Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme entitled ‘Reshaping Global Trade: The Impact and Effects of the US-China Trade War’.

Prof. Robert Howse is the Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law at NYU School of Law. His teaching and research focus on international economic law (trade, investment, and finance) and legal and political philosophy. He is a co-founder and co-convener of the New York City Area Working Group on International Economic Law and serves on the American Bar Association Working Group on Investment Treaties. Professor Howse’s article with Ruti Teitel “Beyond Compliance: Rethinking Why International Law Really Matters” was awarded the Global Policy Best Article Prize 2010 (shared with Joseph Stiglitz et al). Recent representative publications of Professor Howse include: “Epilogue: In Defense of Disruptive Democracy: A Critique of Anti-Populism,” International Journal of Constitutional Law (2019); “International Investment Law and Arbitration: A Conceptual Framework”, in International Law and Litigation: A Look at Procedure (2019), “The WTO 20 Years On: Global Governance by Judiciary”, European Journal of International Law (2016); The Legitimacy of International Trade Courts and Tribunals (co-editor), Cambridge University Press (2018). The fifth edition of his treatise on international trade law, The Regulation of International Trade, will be published in 2020, co-authored with Antonia Eliason. Professor Howse has been a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Paris 1 (Pantheon-Sorbonne), and Osgoode Hall Law School in Canada, among other institutions.

Dr. Dini Sejko is a Research Associate at the Centre for Comparative and Transnational Law at CUHK LAW and a research affiliate at The Fletcher Network for Sovereign Wealth and Global Capital, Tufts University. Dr Sejko’s research focuses on international economic law and the governance of state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). For his research on the impact of UN sanctions on the governance of the Libyan SWF, Dr Sejko received the Society of International Economic Law PEPA Best Paper Award 2018. Dr Sejko is authoring the forthcoming book “The Transnational Law of Sovereign Wealth Funds: Governing State Capitalism at the time of Protectionism” in contract with Edward Elgar Publishing. Dini Sejko has obtained a Combined Bachelor and Master of Science in Law from Bocconi University, a Master of Laws in International Economic Law and a PhD in Laws from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.


04 Jun 2021


9:00 pm - 10:15 pm